What is a simple definition of the philosophy of Derrida?
Have the confidence to reinterpret that which interests you (perhaps a book) through the filter of any particular context (such as your experience) without being beholden to the established (often referred to as the "correct") interpretation.
What do philosophers do for a living?
They search for knowledge [Latin : 'philos' = search, 'sophos' = knowledge], in their areas of specialisation - and interpret whatever they discover to shed new light on existing theories, by offering either supporting evidences or contradictory expostulations thereto. Nowadays, a majority of the philosophers just teach their subject in colleges and universities, for a living. Only a handful of them, who have a flair for advertising and marketing themselves (!), launch 'courses' on 'how to live better' [or some other equally vague and intangible 'technique'] - and mint millions, besides making a name as yet another New Age Messiah !
Which philosopher has an easy to understand philosophy that can be related to a social problem??
Don't worry about being wrong. If you knew more than your teacher you'd be HIS teacher! There are a series of simplified versions of philosophers' works on the web. ( http://www.btinternet.com/~glynhughes/sq... ) If you want something very easy to understand try Hitler: http://www.btinternet.com/~glynhughes/sq... Just think "mad genocidal meglomania" and you're there! [Edit] The danger is if you try and read Popper in three weeks you'll be stuffed. If you must (its quite a good idea) read Bryan Magee's book "Popper", perhaps the "Poverty of Historicism" aswell, and concentrate on Popper's idea of "Piecemeal Social Engineering". The idea is that we cannot know the full consequences of our actions as there is no well founded science of society. (He was arguing against the Marxists and Nazis who thought they new exactly how society worked and how to change it). His argument was that you should go in, do a little bit, see how it works out, do a little bit more. If you just pile straight in and try and cure poverty in one go you're liable to cause more problems than you can solve. Hey - I've just thought. Why not do BOTH Hitler and Popper. Hilter, in part, started as a reaction against German post WW1 poverty. Hilter tried the "big" way with his complete theory of society (race and land) - then you can bring in Popper and how he thought you should do it. Has connections to today with the G W Bush "lets solve the problem and bomb them into submission" and cheese-eating-surrender-monkey-French idea of taking it slooooow and avoiding a total catastrophe.
What are the different types of philosophy?
I have recently become interested in philosophy, but I am at a loss as to what different topics there are. I am really interested in nature, the human mind, the "chaos theory", religion, etc. If someone could just give me a brief overview of the different types of philosophy, including a short description, I would really appreciate it. Thanks P.S. I would also be interested to know who some of the most famous philosophers are (living or dead) and what they talked about. Just assume I know absolutely nothing about the topic.
How are Foucault and Derrida similar and different?
Derrida was a student of Foucault. He was also a student of Hyppolite. Althusser aided the young Derrida in securing an academic appointment (despite the fact that Derrida was never a Marxist). In many ways, Derrida is a more typical philosopher than Foucault; he was obsessed with rescuing Hegel, Heidegger, and Husserl from the existentialist interpretation of folks like Sartre. He was always wary of structuralism, in a way that Foucault was not.Anyway, Derrida and Foucault got along well until Derrida slapped his former teacher in the face with a public lecture in March, 1963 called “Cogito and the History of Madness”. Foucault was in the audience as Derrida “deconstructed” one of his major works. Foucault was not happy. (Derrida’s bad manners were later on display in 1981 when the great, elderly Hans-Georg Gadamer traveled to Paris and presented a paper which showed a careful reading of Derrida’s works. Derrida refused to engage with the paper, going off on a tangent that was more about displaying his cleverness than addressing the topic at hand).They are similar in that they both were formed intellectually in the Paris of the 1950s when the transition from phenomenology and existentialism to structuralism was occurring. They both became very famous. They both published way too much.They differ in that Foucault was always more interested in how intellectual matters were manifested in social institutions. Foucault’s best book, translated as The Order of Things (1966) is a work of intellectual history that it’s impossible to imagine Derrida writing.